This is a little belated, but better than never. Wednesday August 4th, 2010: Met with the recruiter again and this time I have all I need to move on to MEPS. We met around 1730 and had to redo all the paperwork. In the military when a candidate meets with a recruiter and the process stops and restarted again after 1 month, they destroy all the previous paperwork because much can change in a month. With me, things changed for the better because I had my Bankruptcy discharge letter in hand. So an hour or so later we had all the paperwork filled out. The recruiter-in-charge (NC1) told me that I could go to MEPS on Monday and Tuesday. Cool. I get a few more days to study for the ASVAB. I had been studying quite a bit thus far, but the more the better.
After the meeting, my wife and I decided to celebrate the step forward and go to Sonic for some burgers. While at Sonic, I called my boss and told him I would not be at work on Monday and Tuesday. 10 minutes later I get a call from NC1. "Hey, can you go to MEPS tomorrow?" He asked. "Sure, but my boss won't be happy about it." I said.
You see, I have been on this track for along time, and at least in the Navy MEPS goes like this: ASVAB, Physical, Job Classifier (meeting where you pick your job and find out your ship date), sign the contract and swear in to DEP (Delayed Entry Program). The key is the Job Classifier. The Navy at this time is well-manned and many jobs are filled or over-manned. So when a recruiter calls and wants you to go to MEPS sooner it's probably because some jobs have opened up. My boss thought they just wanted me to get in quicker to meet a quota, but it is the beginning of the month and being processed on Thursday vs Monday isn't going to make that big of a difference. So, at this point in Navy enlistment, if one wants to just be in the Navy and the recruiter wants you to go to MEPS now, you go. And that's what I did.
I called my boss back and told him the change in schedule, which as I guessed he wasn't happy about. He wanted me to call the recruiter back to see if it could be postponed. I explained as quickly as I could that jobs are open for tomorrow and Friday's processing and I have to go. I called the recruiter back as a formality but I wasn't going to go later, as my future military career could be affected by the job selections. I asked the recruiter what the deal was and it was as I explained above.
Thursday August 5th, 2010.
I had to be to the recruiting station by 1030 to begin to continue more paperwork. This was to revise and make darn sure that everything was accurate. Paperwork was done by 1130 and NC1 told me to go and break for lunch and return around 1345-1400. So I went to Subway and then took a nap in my truck. I returned to the station and my actual recruiter, AO2, arrived. He had to drive 200 miles round trip to get a copy of my High School Transcripts. What a guy. We tinkered with the paperwork some more then the moment I have been waiting for arrived! The trip to MEPS.
When I arrived the first order of business was going through security, no biggie then to the MEPS front desk to check in. I was asked to put most everything I was carrying on me in a locker (backpack, phone etc.). Then AO2 said see ya later and good luck on the ASVAB. Now the ASVAB is something to study for. I think most kids don't realize it but it is a huge factor on their military future. I mean when you go to bootcamp or if you're in the Army or Marines, I know you don't get to select your job you have to make a list of jobs you'd like. Now if you take two younger guys and they each take the ASVAB... One comes out with a modest 60 the other a 45. Now at the time I took it I think the Marines were only taking people with a minimum of 50 or 55. The Army was taking 35 I think. So, one guy 60 the other 45. The guy with 60 we'll say studied or paid attention in school the other just took it and whatever happened, happened. The Marines would probably make the 45er retake, the guy with 60 would keep on going. Now for the sake of argument lets say they're both going Army, and skip ahead to where they talk to their Liaison (the people you talk to at the end of the MEPS experience to find out ship date, job blah blah). Who do you think is most likely to get a decent job? It ain't gonna be the guy with 45...
Studying for the ASVAB is worth it. I studied much. I have been out of High School for 10 years. Besides, I get to select my job. And I feel that even though a Grade E4 Cook and an E4 Machinists Mate make the same, if my score only allowed me a job as a cook...I would be more miserable than the Machinist Mate. So study.
I took a leak before I went in the ASVAB room. But 1/4 the way though I had to go again. The last test I took was Coding Ability. 6 problems in...I couldn't hold it no mo! So I guessed on the remaining 10 or so problems and called it good. I scored an 82! Not BAD!!! I knew I would qualify for some good jobs.
I thought that would be it for the night, but thankfully they decided to get some of our medical stuff done. So we were directed into Medical and got my Vision and Hearing tested then went into another room and did some more paperwork. This saved us much time the following day. The guy was in a bad mood. Understandably, he has to put up with some pretty dumb people day in and day out. Believe me, I saw them and had the wonderful pleasure of interacting with the imbeciles.
After that we checked out, and were filed down to the parking lot where a van that smelled like a bunch of old gym socks pulled up to shuttle us 13 recruit recruits to a hotel that no-kidding was 10 blocks from my apartment. Nothing eventful really happened except that one kid was offering 20 bucks to the guy that could score that night (I could have just called my wife and been 20 bucks richer). I also got him to admit that he smoked pot 2 weeks prior. But, he made it through just fine. It's like "DUDE!!! If that shows up you're wasting MY TIME, the MEPS staff and your Recruiters!" KIDS!!! Do Not Smoke the Marijuana! Your security clearance counts on your being responsible. Security Clearance = More interesting and better Job.
August 6th, 2010
Alarm goes off at 0430. Get up and eat the Continental Breakfast. Coffee = Required (in my opinion)
The bus showed up right on time, 0515. It will leave on time at 0530. Get there or miss it. That bus driver wasn't foolin around. He just checked his watch, got on the bus, closed the door and he was outta there.
Arrived at MEPS. They filed us off the bus. I have watched boot camp videos...Many of them, many many many times. This is a small taste of that. They lined us up and we single-file filed into the MEPS building.
Processing started with a briefing from the MEPS Lieutenant. This guy was extreme to the extreme. His aura was Respect. I liked the guy. He held my attention even though what he was saying was just common sense. There was one kid though who was Mister Non-participate. You see if he asked if we understood we all said "Yes Sir!" in a positive, active and participatory attitude. This idiot just sat there. Now Lieutenant caught this right now and immediately confronted him: "Does your mouth work?" "Yes" "Yes? Around here we respect authority. Yes what?" In a sheepish manner, "Yes sir..." Lieutenant stared at him good and hard then continued with his presentation. It was intense. Later he asked us to state our Name, Service we were enlisting in and the reason. The same kid said "Uh. Marines and uhhh I guess I want to kill people and uhh serve my country..." WHAT??!! Lieutenant asked him if he wanted to kill the good guys or the bad guys, thankfully he said the Good guys but my recruiter was surprised they didn't sent him off to Psych. for a Mental Eval.. So, Medical. This is just a series of hurry up and wait. Nothin special. I breezed though and was done by 0930. From there I was directed to go meet with my Liaison. I took my file and went to the Navy office and they said "Have a seat and we'll call your name." They said they had a conference call to finish. Ok, so I waited there until 1430. I watched 3 movies and ate lunch. Finally, I couldn't stand it anymore. I was antsy and cold. It had to be 60 degrees in that place, I kid you not. So I asked the Processor Woman how things were comin along and she said she was just finishing something up and it would be a few more minutes. So I meandered and just as I was about to pick up a Navy book she came toodling past and said "Don't start reading, Come on in!" She is one of those women where no matter how much stress she has on her plate she always smiles. It made the wait seem like no big deal.
After she reviewed my file and fixed a few errors I met with the Classifier.
I qualified for whatever job I wanted but the bankruptcy affected my security clearance, but only Top Secret. So, I selected from: Sub Yeoman, Mineman, Meteorologist, Mass Communication, Hull Tech Welder, Sonar Technician Surface, Cook (haha)and a few others, but I selected Sonar Tech Surface (STG). After that I was told to run to the front desk because otherwise I couldn't swear in. I ran!
At 1630 I swore in to the US Navy!